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Andrew Mitchell Faces Trial For Murder Of Donna Castleberry

Columbus Police Vice officer Andrew Mitchell.
Justice Department

A Franklin County court is setting a new date for the trial of Columbus Police Vice officer Andrew Mitchell. He faces charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter stemming from the fatal shooting of of Donna Castleberry last August.

Franklin County Judge David C. Young is assigned to the case. The court has yet to set a new date for the trial, but is expected to do so Thursday afternoon.

Prosecutors say Castleberry stabbed Mitchell in the hand while he arrested her on prostitution charges. Castleberry then jumped to the back seat of the unmarked vehicle, and Mitchell shot her six times from the front seat or just outside the car.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien says Castleberry didn't believe Mitchell was an officer, and "expressed the belief that she was being kidnapped and would be raped." Mitchell was in plainclothes during the arrest, a practice the department has now ceased, and was not carrying proper I.D. at the time.

A Franklin County grand jury indictedMitchell on the charges in March. O'Brien says the grand jury found his use of deadly force was "far beyond the scope necessary to protect himself from any additional harm."

Mitchell has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and is being held without bond.

Timeline: Investigation Of Columbus Police Vice Unit

Mitchell retired in bad standing from the Columbus Division of Police in March after being indicted by federal prosecutors on multiple charges, unrelated to the Castleberry incident. The FBI alleges Mitchell kidnapped victims under the pretense of arrest and forced them to have sex in exchange for their freedom.

At the time of his indictment, Mitchell was a 31-year veteran of the Columbus Police department. He was relieved of duty in September 2018 amid multiple misconduct investigations.

Mitchell's trial marks the first time O'Brien has indicted an on-duty officer accused of killing someone.

If you have any information about the Columbus Police Vice Unit, please contact Adora Namigadde at adora@wosu.org.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.